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34 min read

PODCAST: How to Scale & Grow a Healthy eCommerce Brand

Star Talks: Episode 13 with Ken Ott: Star Talks is the podcast of small conversations that inspire you to do big things and in this episode Ken Ott, the founder of Metacake, shares how throughout high school and college he began his entrepreneurial journey, how there is a business case for investing, creating, and telling a brand story well, and how he’s attracted world class brands by providing consistency and high-level experience.


Epsiode 13 - Ott

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Here's the episode transcript:

All right. Ken, thank you so much for joining the show.

Yeah, man. Excited to be here in this odd time.

Definitely odd time. I definitely, definitely. Yeah. yeah, it's very strange. I'm glad that we're able to to keep podcasting here though and, and deliver some value to to people out there that are staying at home and a lot of podcasts getting listened to a lot of people stepping up their streaming game in the last couple of weeks. So hopefully we can add to that. You know, I've, I've spent a bunch of time you know, we've, we've worked in directly and directly together here more recently on some things. Ken, but I know a lot about Metacake or at least I think I do. I've spent a bunch of time on a lot of your content channels, YouTube, your podcast, Agency Exposed, spent a lot of time diving into the things that you guys are doing and, and the value that you're providing out there. But I'd like to talk a little bit more about your story to start here. Can to tell us a little bit about your backstory, you know, where'd you grow up? What'd you study in school? And I don't know, what was the first role out of college?

Ken: (01:12)
Yeah. so I grew up in New York city and that's probably a critical context for a lot of why I am the way I am. And a lot of the just the, the, just why I do what I do. But I grew up in York city. We didn't we didn't have very much grew up in Queens. You know, anything about New York City. And this is not, I love Queens, not the bash it, but it's sort of like a lot of Queens has like all the problems of the city without any of the benefits of the city in some ways. She's got, and you know, I, I grew up in the, in the 80s, so right now, you know, it's, it's it's very different than it was in, in a lot of the areas. But yeah, but then I went to high school we were in Queens, sort of zoned for public schools and pretty much at that time, like if you, you know, public schools didn't, the public schools that you were zoned for were not very good.

Ken: (02:16)
A lot of them were pretty dangerous too. And so it was sorta like when you went into high school, you sort of you sorta had to survive by going to a specialized school. That was, that was a main priority for us. And so in New York city there were a few specialized schools, high schools, they're very much like colleges in a way that you have to pick a major, you have to do all that kind of stuff. So that's kinda cool. You get really advanced like kind of early, earlier education on and you go deep on certain, on certain things. So I went to Brooklyn tech, we're going to technical high school and in Brooklyn, right across street from Fort Green park. It was, it was a pretty rough time is when the bloods and the Crips were going crazy and all that kind of stuff.

Ken: (03:08)
And we'd get locked in school during Halloween because they, you know, maybe gang fights outside and all kinds of stuff like that. So definitely an odd on certain environment I guess may maybe relative to the rest of the country potentially. I went from a class of 40 kids in eighth grade to a class of 2000 and in my high school and then a total total number of kids of 9,000 and it was, you know, nine floors and you had to take two trains to get there, that kind of thing. So the culture shock was just massive. And that was sort of a really interesting time in my life where I just immediately grew up. In, in, in high school you had to pick a major. So I studied computer science and it was right at the time when, you know, that was sort of like the perfect time for it.

Ken: (04:07)
And and so that kind of introduced me to the internet and introduced me to technology and using technology early on. I had a really strong business bent I guess entrepreneurial sort of leg and Jean just growing up and then through that period. And so it kinda gave me a great tool to, to sort of use to start businesses and become an entrepreneur. So actually started my first company in high school. And that iterations of that company, you know, led me to different places and, and sort of created a lot of opportunity for me through that. But yes, from high school, from, from high school, I, I went to Queens college city university in New York City. And I studied a few different things there, business being one computer science being another and actually some music.

Ken: (05:07)
And then I continued running a company through college and also started a few other companies and ventures in that time, which then led me to being able to go out. And actually I had an opportunity to go out and be a professional musician for, for a few years. Did that a little bit, and also ran my businesses from, from the road. And actually that kind of burst a few other ideas. And so I would often be helping, you know, I, I had a consulting company at the time, I was consulting with some major brands in New York city around how they use technology and marketing and the internet at the time to, to really grow their business. And commerce was a key component in that. And so I would also find myself helping these really major brands or sorry really influential musicians and sayings and record labels and all those types of companies just do the same.

Ken: (06:08)
And that led me to Nashville and and I ended up at, you know, at point I think in 2007 moving my company and my family from New York to Nashville or right outside Nashville, which is where we live. We live in Franklin. And then just put down roots and continue that progression. Throughout all that stuff, you know, what, what excites me is how you use creativity and maybe science or for us it's technology and you use that in a really blended way to help, you know execute ideas and, and help businesses connect with audiences in a way that they never would. Without that blend. A lot of people kind of fall on one side of the other. And and throughout that entire, you know, throughout my entire timeline or history, I've, I've always had a, a sort of commerce component to what I was doing.

Ken: (07:21)
And that's kind of, I guess we've been doing eCommerce for, I've been doing eCommerce for probably 20 or more years just in one way or another. And that's kind of what we do now pretty much exclusively, is we help businesses do eCommerce and create a direct consumer channel that really grows through Metacake cuts, what Metacake does. I myself, I do a few things, but that's, that's the main, main thing that my current business does, which is, you know, how people do commerce and sort of sorts. So it's sort of an evolution of, of someone what I've done for the last 20 or so years.

So most of the internet knows you. And you know, I know you frankly as an eCommerce growth thought leader and you touched on that a little bit. You're a YouTube personality, a podcast host. You also, I don't know if you define yourself this way, but a serial entrepreneur, and you'd touched on that too that you've, you know, you've found marketing agencies, digital marketing agencies and technology startups for the last couple of decades. So why, I mean, why are you this way? What about your upbringing set you on this path?

Ken: (08:29)
That's funny. Yeah, I do. I, I I do a lot of those different things. And I enjoy creating content and and just helping people get over barriers. So that's kind of probably what drives a lot of that. I mean, I touched on some of this. I grew up you know, growing up we didn't have very much and but I did feel and that was probably part of what, what created a gap for me that, you know, I guess made me want to control more of, of what not only we had, but, but what also saw, you know the more resources that you have, this is not just money, but your, the more resources and talents you have, the more you can help and influence other people for the better. You can't do that if you don't have anything where you, you're, it's really hard to do that effectively.

Ken: (09:24)
Right. And so that that gap sort of early on that was created, sort of gave me a drive towards creating something with, with what I had, which was just whatever towns I was given. And and so I just, and I, and I believe that it's sort of, I just felt a responsibility, you know, without sounding too you know what the word is, but like I felt a responsibility to do as much as I could with what I had to make a positive impact with it and to create health and resources for others. And so I've always been obsessed with chasing that, you know I believe, I fundamentally believe that there are no limitations. That sort of sounds cliche, but it's just, it's just my belief in, so I believe that certain limitations that you kind of come up against there's always a way around them.

Ken: (10:27)
It may not be easy, it may not be quick, it may not be cheap, but I do believe that every limitation can, can kind of be out and around in some way. And I think that striving for that is what is important. And using every talent and resource you have to multiply what you have is important to me. I'm actually a person of faith. And so like, that's really, that's, that's sort of a reason why I'm built this way as well because I'd be with the resource, I've been given the talents. I mean even I should be doing as much as possible to to not waste that. And so that kind of drives me quite a bit, I would say.

That's awesome. Yeah. having that purpose definitely makes makes things a little bit easier to pursue. And I'm, I'm also a person of faith, so I'm right there with you and now it looks like, you know, Metacake you started Metacake, you know, and you talked a little bit, you know, Metacake set in eCommerce growth agency. You know, you've had, you've worked with some of the most influential, you know, recognizable brands, old spice, Tony Robbins, groove life, smile, direct club, you know, just to name a few of those. So, you know, I guess, how have you been able to, to not only attract world-class brands as customers, but to do so in a, that's

Ken: (11:54)
Actually effective in helping these brands grow? Yeah. it, I mean for anyone listening, I don't you know, attracting those types of companies in some ways takes time and consistency. But I think the number one thing that every business needs is a high level experience. And the, the particular skill that they're hiring for that they're gonna that they, that they, you know, that they may hire you for. And so, you know, tactics and and certain skills are, are, are pretty common, but not a lot of people have deep experience inside of a particular industry or a particular skill set that goes way back. And that becomes important when you look at strategic, like accomplishing things from a strategic side of side of the equation. So many cakes and e-commerce growth team, you know, we do X, we, we we help people with a strategy for growth.

Ken: (13:07)
We help brands, global brands, some of the ones you mentioned high growth brands and a lot of mid-market brands as well. Just figure out how they achieve a certain goal and grow their direct consumer channel, which is primarily e-commerce. And so we, we start in a simple place. We start with Hey, do you have a great product? Because that's a prerequisite for creating a great business, right? So you have a great product. And then do you have a great story? And you probably have a great story if you have a great product, even if you're not telling it. And we see this even with, with, with you know, big, long, longstanding low brands that they, they, they're not sometimes telling it well, but people buy emotions. And there's science behind that. They buy the story and the emotion and the brand more and they don't buy the just the product and the product has to fulfill the pains and needs of that person, but they're really buying the emotional side of it.

Ken: (14:15)
And so there's, there's a reason there's a business case to actually invest in creating and telling a great story. So do you have a great product? You have a great story. And if you have those things and you can really create an effective brand of course, then you have to have a good business model, you know, so your product margins have to have to fall in line and there are certain metrics that have to fall in line to make the business, the direct consumer business model work well. And we have, you know, some specific benchmarks that we like to see all that kind of stuff within. And once you dial all those kinds of things in you then, then it's about executing consistently. So that's kinda what we help people do. You know, we do things that you might say a lot of people do, which are generating paid traffic, which we do really well, but a lot of people do pay traffic and, you know, Facebook ads, Google ads and those kinds of things.

Ken: (15:13)
We do a lot of onsite, you know, work design, conversion optimization you know, just optimizing that store. And then we also do a lot on this side of what we say customer maximization or lifetime value. And there's less action, there's less people doing that, that, that particular area. And that's, that's one that it doesn't get a lot of publicity, you know, maximizing your customer's lifetime value. Investing into the customer over the initial sale. It's, it's not the, it's not the sparkly thing. Everyone's really seemed, it seems very focused on getting the initial sale. But there's just a ton of opportunity that we, we find and we help people through, which is in that customer maximization, customer lifetime value area. And that's primarily done through things like email, really intelligent, scalable relationship building, email programs and other things.

Ken: (16:13)
But that customer area is, is a sort of customer lifetime value area is key. But you know, you may find different agencies and companies that do do a mix of those things. The difference that we bring is our experience and our strategic side. And so you know, we've owned, I mean I've owned and we currently own eCommerce and direct consumer brands and other brands and we apply those principles, you know, to everything we do. We've also been doing it for for 20 or so years with some of the biggest companies out there. And what that allows us to do is that allows us to put any activity that we do through the filter of is this an intelligent, is this a smart business decision that goes towards the goal of this business? And that changes things when you can put it through that filter.

Ken: (17:04)
You know, even when you say it comes down to like running a Facebook ad campaign or something like that, and then we have to be really good at doing it. But ultimately if there's a, there's a different, if you're putting it through the lens of is this great for the business, is it going towards the business strategy? Then you're allowed to, and then you actually can make decisions on a different level and you can create success in a more stable way. And that kind of actually removes some of the burden from the leaders in the businesses that we help. You know, so the C level or directors or you know, econ, whatever leadership there is actually a gruesome, that burden because we can come alongside them and be a partner and advise them and coach them. And also the things that we end up executing on. We have a, there's a certain level of trust that is in our decision making process for those things. And there's, there's less management and micromanagement that usually has to go on. And so I think that has, is, is a we see that being a re an advantage and something that businesses we work with actually really enjoy, which is that we've kind of bring the leadership role to the table for our particular skill set and it takes some of the burden off of their shoulders in that way.

So I'm interested with your experience in your background. You've been doing this for a very long time. You've seen the evolution of eCommerce over the years and you've seen the ways that companies have been able to adapt and to, to capitalize on the opportunity. But aside from revenue generation, what, what separates a company that does a few million in sales versus a company that does 40, 50, $100 million in sales, do they do the challenges of a larger e-commerce company or, or an eCommerce company? Do they change as they grow or do they, are they just a, just a matter of scale and they fall into one of those buckets, whether it's generating traffic, converting on the site and then maximizing lifetime value?

Ken: (19:14)
That's a great question. Eh, yeah, there, those stages are different. We've actually got like sort of an educational series on on the, the three basic stages of any commerce growth or big commerce company which we can link to. It's, I think it's at metacake.com/scale. However, yeah. There, the, the, the activities and the challenges change. You know, when you're in the survival stage as we would put it, which is, you know, anywhere from a one to $10 million, we usually see or, or it's an early stage, you know, the, in the, in that stage you're, it's really agile. It's a little chaotic. You're learning and adapting quickly and all of those kinds of things. And that's kind of okay. You may be dependent on one marketing channel for instance. Like, you know, that's pretty typical with a kind of viral brand that kind of comes out of nowhere.

Ken: (20:14)
They might have just one channel, whether it's, you know, an influence channel or partnership or Facebook ads or something like that, that, that that's sort of like really driving it. But that they're really susceptible because they haven't diversified those channels. And so that early stage is sort of running and gunning. And I would say a lot of entrepreneurs love that stage. And the challenge is when you have to transition, when they have to transition from that stage. We've coached many companies through but yeah, like once you go from like that survival stage into what we would classify as like a health stage, which is, you know, and revenue numbers are just sort of one baseline. It's, it's, you know, you can be in a different revenue category and in the stages, but we see it generally from like 10 to $50 million.

Ken: (21:05)
We call that like the health stage and things change a lot, right? You have to you can't you can't run and gun chaos is extremely expensive. The things that get you through those stages are organization and processes and systems. And discipline, you know having the right staff and being able to process things efficiently and, and that's critical to scale through that stage. And the thing that actually helped you launch the thing off the ground is actually really detrimental in that stage. But one of the things that I think one of the key components of when you're in that sort of middle ground stages, you need to invest in diversification. And even with what we're seeing with, you know, the Coronavirus, effects of the Coronavirus on business and that kind of stuff. I would imagine that, and we're seeing it and like the, the brands that are not diversified through there like in channels that they get customers or other areas of business are the ones that are probably going to be hit the hardest or are susceptible the most.

Ken: (22:14)
And that just makes sense. We all know that in business and or whether you have a business or you invest in the stock market, like you understand diversification. But that is a big challenge with diversification because diversifying is hard because it's not the urgent thing. I don't know if you know the Eisenhower, I think it's called the Eisenhower matrix, but like we're all, we all care about the urgent and important things, you know, that that quadrant and that's the stuff that we generally get hit with all day long. We're using, doing all day long the diversification, you know, the investing in certain other channels and those kinds of things. That's sort of in the on not urgent but important category. And that category almost never gets gotten to unless you are intentional about it. But really to scale through the health stage, you need to diversify.

Ken: (23:02)
And that means diversifying your marketing channels. You know, this, that may be, again, like you may have gotten to a certain stage based on basically, you know, one, one channel you might have to invest into figuring out the other channels. It also really means diversifying your product line. Like that's a huge one because just economically speaking from a business model standpoint if you only have a couple products, it's really hard to to get past a certain stage, you need to have a complimentary product lines so that you can so that you can, you know, cross sell and up sell and, you know, really maximize every customer in the future of every customer. But you have to do that in a way that is organic to your brand and you can't do it. You can't just be tacking on products here and there. So anyway, yeah, there are, there are certain key things that kind of drive through those stages in an organization changes a time in those different stages, especially in eCommerce.

That's really interesting. You talk a lot about, and I've noticed this on your YouTube channel about Metacake process and sticking to that process almost to the point of where people may find it annoying. . . 

Ken: (24:21)
Actually. Is it annoying? It's good feedback.

Well, I mean I think you even said that in one of the videos and you know, it, it really caught me. It makes sense to me because you can, you can relate to that where sticking to a process, especially if that process is foreign to someone or if they don't understand that process, it may be annoying, but if it's tried and true then, you know, it makes sense to kind of go along for that ride. So what, what makes Metacake's process so special?

Ken: (24:58)
Well, yeah, I'll, I'll say this like I don't we some systems and formulas and processes and frameworks where everyone call them that that work. And there's nothing magical about them other than they've just been refined over time. And, yeah, but it's not, I don't think our process is magical. I think you need a process and then the magical component is actually being consistent with it, you know? Yeah, and, and I, I think I've joked about it in the videos a few times. Like, you know, basically all the boring stuff is really what's going to make you successful. And that's not, you know, as human beings, that's not what we, what we want to hear, you know, and, and and I think that what we look at, you know, as, as you know, if we, you know, social media envy and those kinds of things, when we see all these different things, I think, you know, the things that the world praises is not necessarily even the thing that makes you successful, like consistency and all that kind of stuff.

Ken: (26:10)
Those are not, those are not the things that that you see preached about a lot. And I think that's so important. But ultimately, like consistency is the magic formula. So you need to have a, a process or a framework or formula that is, that is proven or, or make sense for your business. And then the magical component is consistency. And so we just help people we help people with the formula. And then we help them also be consistent. So us as a business, you, one of our core values is, is that, you know, that discipline and organization. And because that's hard and, but that is the key. And so we just help people through that and coach people through that. But it's oftentimes just not what people want to hear, right? It's not as exciting. But it is what makes you scale and grow and create a great product for a lot of people in a way that doesn't kill you or, and, and also serves them.

Ken: (27:16)
And is also profitable. Like all those things are important. And the only way to do that is through consistency. I mean, you see that with, you know, if you want to get healthy, lose weight, build muscle, whatever, you know what's the secret? It's really not what you do. It's that you do it every day and that you do it insistently. So it's the same with business, but yeah, that's, but it's not, we don't have a magic formula, but we do have a formula that we've improved over time that works well. These help people through that.

So you had talked about, you know, looking at when you're looking or evaluating an eCommerce company, you know, you look at the product, make sure the product's great and typically if they've got a great product, you know, they've got a great story even if they're not telling that story. And you had talked about, you know, the different phases that accompany is in based on sort of where they're at from a growth standpoint. And you talked about the Eisenhower sort of I guess the quadrants. And so when you, when you're approached by an eCommerce company, what's the, how do you evaluate what, what they're, what the next step is for them? How do you, and well I guess less tactically and maybe more strategically if they've got all the things in place and they, they, you can help them. What are the things that you're looking for? Maybe the intangible things that you're looking for in an organization that you see and you say, okay, these guys, these guys are ready and they can go to the next level because they just need our help.

Ken: (28:48)
Yeah, no, I mean, that's a good question. We actually do have a a list of sort of bench Mark metrics that we kind of rate on and and sometimes we, we actually get hired to just do that. It's for some people it's, it's it's sort of a strategic project. And we can do that one off and yeah, happy to do that if for anyone listening. But that, that you have to set the plan, right? You have to assess where someone's at and then you have to say, okay where do they want to be? And then what's the plan to get there strategically and then tactically? And so that, that we go through that, that process we call it a growth plan. But inside that we, you know, it's, it's interesting we look at this all the time, even sometimes we help since these days we've been helping certain investors make decisions on, on investing in DTC companies through using this.

Ken: (29:55)
And it's pretty simple, but some of the basic components in it are, you know, do they have a great product? Right. and so that's just, you know, it's a subjective thing, but like, do you have a great product? Is it something that the company really believes in? You know, so for instance, an example that that would not fit this would be maybe something like fidget spinners, you know, that are sort of just craze based you know, fad based things that maybe don't really solve a real need in the marketplace. Arguably, you know, you might argue that, but so we asked about that question then we asked about the story. I mentioned this early, like, do you have a great story? And again, you may not be telling you it, that's oftentimes the opportunity, but typically, you know, you want us to find the core of the heart of the company, you know what their mission is, what their purpose is.

Ken: (30:45)
Like that's what people connect to. And so we look for that. And then then we look at the model like the business model which is really important. It's not, and it's not to like get in other people's business, but like we often find that we have a different perspective on, on these things just from looking at and working with so many companies. So there are certain from a business model standpoint, like things like how much margin should your products have and those, and you know, what should your cost of acquisition be in like you know, all that kind of stuff plays into how much you can actually drive success and scale. A lot of times when someone's hitting a ceiling it's because one of those benchmarks are not in line, right? Like if you, for instance, if you don't have enough margin in your product, you can't create what what we say is necessary to, to selling really well, which is a de-risked offer, like an offer that no one can refuse.

Ken: (31:45)
You can't necessarily create that because you may not be able to afford to create that. And so that actually creates a barrier on the marketing side, which slows down things. And you know, you also, you know, if in other math metric we look at as something like average order value if your average order value, it's funny, you know, matter across so many different industries that we look at. We average order value and cost per acquisition are generally in the same order. Sorry. Cost preposition is generally in the same ballpark for, for, for so many different companies, when you're talking about products that may be under about a hundred, $150 and so we look at average order value because you know, we like to see it above $75. About $75 for the most part can support a good cost per acquisition or the most expensive cost per acquisition for most industries.

Ken: (32:42)
But if that's not online, then you may not, you know, you may be losing money on the initial sale, which again doesn't necessarily mean I know everyone wants to make money from day one, but just that's not always realistic. That's a topic for a different day. But you know if that average order value and the CPA are not in line, then you may not realize it at the beginning, but you may or may not be able to get enough traction fast enough without investing money and losing some money on the front end. We'd look at also then the fulfillment side of it. So everything after the sale, right? Like how do we, how do you guys do customer service? How do you do fulfillment? What's your customer lifetime value strategy? That engine behind after the sale is so important because it's really what makes the business successful.

Ken: (33:33)
You know, again, so everyone's looking at so many people are just focused on the initial sale and, and really forget about everything after it. When the best companies like the most successful, profitable, really great ones, you know, they, they may lose money on the initial sale, but then they believe in and they've tuned the engine of their business such that they know that over a certain period of time they will be able to deliver really well for that client and may profit on that. And so that, that kind of engine, there's a few metrics that we look at sort of on that side of things just to, to see where it's at. But we just do an assessment and you know, the basic things honestly are great product. Great story. I mean we'll, we'll work with and help anyone or coaching them through that. If you know, if they have one or if they want to have a great product and great story, but like being tuned in like, you know, them sort of being in the mindset of having a great product. And a great story as being, the key to success is, I guess when you boil it all down, the basic prerequisite.

So you talked about, you know, looking at average order value, is there any time where you see maybe an average order value being low lower than that $75, but then you look at the customer lifetime value and you're able to justify greater cost per acquisition or our customer acquisition costs because of that lifetime value?

Ken: (35:11)
Absolutely. And that's sometimes, that's a lot of times where we need to people need some coaching and confidence building around that because I think there is this misconception right now. I don't, I think it's driven primarily by the digital marketing community that, you know, you should be at a certain row ass for your, you know paid ads, Facebook ads or whatever. And if you're not at that roast, then, you know but I think that that, that does a disservice people because since when does a new business that's going to new market with a new customer make money from day one? Like, that's not really realistic. It's great to be a target and you should, we should shoot for that. And we do and a lot of businesses get that. But if you're not making money on the initial sale, it's not necessarily a fail.

Ken: (36:07)
It, it really matters about the customer lifetime value. That's like really the key component. And so, yeah, there's absolutely businesses and there are big ones that, that that we worked with, you know, names that everyone would know that their entire model is built on losing money on the initial sale. So it's not necessarily a bad thing. But it is important to be aware of. I guess that's more the point is, you know, are we making money on the initial sale or are we not, or what, what really, what can we afford as a cost per acquisition is a better question, right? Like, based on what we know about lifetime value, well, we know about average order value. Like what can we actually afford to spend to acquire a customer?

Sure. And you know, I guess obviously with, you know, trying to drive that lifetime value, you see a lot of sort of subscriptions popping up in the in the direct to consumer space. What have you seen there? And you know, I guess what is your experience around doing that?

Ken: (37:13)
Yeah, this, the subscription space. Yeah. I mean, everyone rightly so. Everyone's, most, most companies are looking at how they can make their product a subscription type products or create some sort of continuity. And so that's great. And when you can do a subscription, I mean that's, that's, that's a great way to obviously increase lifetime value. It is. It's probably the easiest way, but if your product fits that, but there are other ways that you can look at lifetime value. And I would say the majority of products aren't subscription products, right? Like out there, if you look at most of the products out there. And so for everyone else it's not, it's, it's, it just requires a, you figuring out a great business model, which I think is actually your advantage once you figure it out. And it's not that hard.

Ken: (38:06)
We start with relationship building. And so I think there's two components. Like, one is research and development on, on your product line. Like, so make you know, create really great products in a family of products that people can and will buy more of or at least tell their friends and family how awesome it is so that they buy it, you know, so, so I think there's that side and then there's creating a relationship with your customers that is scalable. And that's really the, probably the biggest opportunity we work on right now is that it's not typically being done extremely well. You know, most people, their customer lifetime value sort of program is probably just sending emails every once in awhile. And so that, that's really a sort of blunt force approach to it. With the tools and with just a little bit of like strategic, like kind of putting together a plan, you can create a really great relationship building, you know program through email that is partially automated, partially, you know, promotion based and you know, partially through talking to different groups of people in personal ways.

Ken: (39:23)
We can do that in a really scalable way and and actually create like a ton of value for the customer and also a lot of revenue directly true revenue for the business as well. And so, so we often help. That's actually a lot of what we do right now. We actually have an email product out for that PR, that exact purpose that even if you didn't hire us, you could, you can basically take our, our formula and implement it in your organization. And it's, it's just, it's just really effective right now.

That's awesome. I'd like to get have a, our listeners get a chance to know how to access some of that stuff. I just have a couple more questions. I know your time is super valuable. So, you know, we're, we're obviously in an unprecedented situation right now with this Coronavirus pandemic. What's the, what's the impact on eCommerce? What have you seen? And what is, is there an opportunity for an eCommerce company come out of this thing stronger on the other side?

Ken: (40:28)
And I it's interesting. I think this is really obviously crazy time. Everyone's sort of disrupted. It's funny, I was, you know, when you think about disruption, like often think about it, we think about it from within, right? A business will disrupt an industry or something like that. And, and this is like, you know, the original form of disruption, the, the most profound form of disruption. And with disruption, right? It it brings on a period of time that's difficult, right? So it's hard and you have to figure stuff out, but ultimately it makes you adapt. And while that's hard and somewhat painful and maybe some will die and not even be able to adapt, the other side of adaptation is always really good, right? There's always a benefit to that. And so we're practicing this as a business. And obviously this is just sort of my stream of consciousness because it's currently happening and we don't have a formula.

Ken: (41:28)
No one does. No one know, knows what's going on. But we're to embrace it and we're trying to help our clients embrace it and you have no choice. You might as well and, and figure out how you come out better for it and serve even through it. And so the cool thing about e-commerce is you would think that that's the antidote for a lot of this. And in some ways it is in fact we're giving out free resources to businesses being affected dramatically by the Coronavirus and what it's doing on, on society. And we're also doing free coaching sessions with any business that would like to talk with us. Just to give them information and try and advise them if they think our skill set would be helpful for their business. But you know, if you, if you're a retail store or you're a restaurant or you're any in-person business and that is your only channel, that's probably the business.

Ken: (42:29)
Those are the businesses that are struggling the most right now. And so for them, eCommerce or you know, an online channel where they can do commerce is one of the key things that could help them get through it. And so, yes, I think eCommerce is important, but even for eCommerce companies, some of our clients are experiencing some issues purely related to the stay at home requirements in some places, you know so maybe distribution centers can't function at all or the way they were before. And there's even some issues with Amazon right now. Amazon is not, at least as of a couple of days ago, they weren't accepting any any, any more shipments from companies. So until they got over the hump of delivering essentials. And so it's disrupted some of, some of certainly eCommerce companies and our clients. But ultimately, you know, you can choose to be innovative and adapt and, you know, figure it out or you can choose to retract.

Ken: (43:41)
And I fundamentally believe that you have to, you can't retract. I mean, you need to be smart about how you do things, but you, you know, this is the time to figure it out and become better through it. And so that's kind of what we're coaching our brands on. But yeah, you commerce, just to answer your question, e-commerce is important right now. I think it's one of the, one of the solutions in this time and you know, if there's anyone listening that thinks would be helpful to talk to us a little bit about that we'd be happy to give you advice for free just to help where you're at right now.

Yeah, I think that's, that's awesome. I actually, I, there's one question I ask every guest on the show and I want to ask you that, but before I do, I'd like to, you know, allow our listeners the opportunity to know how to get ahold of you, how to connect with you in order to take advantage some of the things that you guys are doing. Right now.

Ken: (44:34)
Yeah. So absolutely. If you want to learn more about Metacake or reach out to us and potentially work with us, you can visit our website and metacake.com like I never met a cake. I didn't love.com. You can reach out there. I can link, I'm sure we can link to some of the things that we talked about, which kind of people into stuff. But if you're, if you're, if you're a business. Yeah. Is your business being affected by the Coronavirus right now? I'm going to, I'll, I'll set up a short link before this goes live, but metacake.com/coronavirus/ we have a page dedicated to businesses that are being challenged right now and we've got some offers, so we're, we're giving away a lot of our educational material for just costs which, which can help you do things like create a great brand and do a eCommerce, you know, by yourself or teach you about that.

Ken: (45:35)
And then we're also doing free coaching and advice sessions for any businesses affected that would love to, you know, want to talk to us and thinks they can get somebody to use. We also reached out to all of our partners, which we have a really good partners like you guys which we have to talk about maybe, maybe this afterwards, but reached out to all our partners and said, Hey, is there anything that, any way you guys could help, you know, potentially businesses that are being affected and a ton of them came back. And so we were just keeping a running list of all the different other, other businesses there that can help you in this time if you're a business that's struggling. And so that's at metacake.com/coronavirus. And then if you want to connect with me, obviously Twitter and Facebook my handles, LinkedIn, you can look me up there. Metacake caught on YouTube and that's probably, that's probably the majority of it right there.

Awesome. So what is the, you know, this is the question I ask. So to everybody on the show, it's my favorite question. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do, Ken?

Ken: (46:46)
What's the most rewarding thing about what you you know, I, I enjoy seeing people that are impacted by the work or the message that we do. And I know that sounds super cliche, but that is I think that's a smart business model because it does pay the bills and it does produce revenue when you have an engine around that. So I do think, I know I always, I don't do things, I always have those two mines going. But for peering, for pure reward just seeing people impacted. So that might mean, you know, companies we've helped brands go increase their revenue, their profitability and their stability, like tremendously. And that means, you know, you know, that's, it's great for a lot of people, but what's really cool is that, you know, they employ a team and that team, you know it has a job now and, and, and they have a great place to work, hopefully.

Ken: (47:47)
And, and that's, that's both with us and for businesses we help. I think businesses have a disproportionate influence on society. And I think the more that businesses understand that responsibility and that influence and then use it for good through their products and through their message and that kind of stuff, I think, I think that's a great way to, to better our world. And so we're just trying to do our little part in that.

Awesome Ken, thank you so much for joining the show. It's been great to have you.

Ken: (48:18)
Yeah, man, thank you so much.


If you'd like to suggest a guest, be a guest yourself, or if you have something to say, leave a comment below or send your message to StarTalks@StellarOneConsulting.com.

The Stellar One Team

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